Spider Monkey

The spider monkey is one of the largest primates in the Americas, they are highly social and can be found in large groups. One of the two subspecies found in the Five Forests, the Yucatan spider monkey, is considered critically endangered ranking amongst the worlds 25 most endangered primates.

Central American spider monkeys Ateles geoffroyi are distributed in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama. Because of habitat loss and fragmentation, severe hunting pressure, and the pet trade, they are considered Critically Endangered. The genus Ateles has long been considered the most threatened in the Neotropics due to its long gestation period (226-232 days) and the need to spend a relatively large proportion of their time foraging, with a major dietary requirement of 69-91% fruit. With their highly frugivorous diet, spider monkeys need large expanses of forest and are less able to adapt to fragmentation than other regional primates. In addition to its ecological requirements, it is one of the main species hunted in indigenous regions and is also subject to the growing illegal wildlife trade. They have a relatively large range but this is threatened by high rates of deforestation. Narco-effect rates (deforestation related to illegal drug trade), which is a major threat in the Five Forests are 20-60% per year (adapted from ‘Primates in Peril, 2018-2020’). Our focus on the Five Forests will both protect and restore this precarious habitat.